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Microsoft, Apple and Google get poor scores in hardware repairability report

And Apple gets an 'F' for iPhone repairs.
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Written by Liam Tung, Contributor on

Hardware tools from Apple, Google, Microsoft and Apple have come out with low grades in a new repairability report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Groups (PIRG) Education Fund, which covers the repairability of 187 devices from 10 vendors. 

U.S. PIRG Education Fund aims to provide US consumers with a single report covering multiple devices and 10 manufacturers using information from France's repairability index. The French repairability index is available via web pages for smartphones and laptops, in similar format to iFixit's repairability scores

"U.S. PIRG Education Fund, with assistance from iFixit.com, has accumulated French repair scores across 187 devices from ten prominent manufacturers," U.S. PIRG Education Fund said in an announcement. The French law aimed to make it clearer to consumers how easy it was to repair phones, laptops, TVs, and electric lawnmowers in order to tackle the growing mountain of e-waste. 

"Our grade also reflects companies' record of lobbying against Right to Repair, or membership in associations which are prominent Right to Repair opponents."

SEE: Best Windows laptop 2022: Top notebooks compared

In U.S. PIRG Education Fund's laptop category, no vendor got a A-grade but Dell, Asus, Lenovo, and Acer got a B-grade, while HP got a C-grade, and Microsoft and Apple got a D-grade. For cell phones, no vendor got an A-grade, Motorola got a B-grade, Samsung got a C-grade, Google got a D-grade, and Apple got an F-grade. 

U.S. PIRG Education Fund notes that Microsoft devices "are much more physically repairable than their French scores might lead you to believe". However, they lost points because of limited access to documentation and parts. 

"Apple lost the greatest number of points for their active lobbying against Right to Repair and support for other trade groups who are most visible in opposition, with Microsoft also losing points for direct lobbying," U.S. PIRG Education Fund notes in the report. Google also lost points for opposing repair-friendly legislation, it said. 

U.S. PIRG Education Fund didn't include Framework's $999 modular laptop in its report, but notes it would have scored an A+ in this scorecard based on France's index.  

The non-profit argues that consumers need better information about repairability at the point of sale. 

The index is based on documentation manufacturers make available free of charge, specialist repair tools, availability of spare parts, and price of spare parts. In some cases, it also includes whether remote support, software updates and resets are available. 

Microsoft has published a support page detailing the criteria on which its Surface models repairability scores were based, and it also provides a link to its latest assessment of the Surface Laptop Studio, Surface Duo 2, Surface Duo, Surface Laptop 4 and 3, and more. Apple provides its repairability index reports on its French website.   

Microsoft and Apple have made some changes to improve repairability, which US president Joe Biden in January commended them for as he announced a right to repair bill that still needs to pass Congress. 

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